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Woman charged in car, cruiser collision

September 04, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg woman whose car collided with a city police cruiser while she was driving on South Queen Street on July 13 failed to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle during the accident, the Martinsburg City Police Department said Thursday.

Police made the determination after the accident was reconstructed by Cpl. Brian Yost of the police department and C. Hugh Bean, a reconstruction expert from Ocean City, Md., according to a press release from the department.

Malissa Neice, 32, of Martinsburg, was stopped on South Street and preparing to cross South Queen when Patrolman Jeffery Pepple passed through the intersection, according to Martinsburg Police Sgt. J. McMillen.

Pepple, 27, who was traveling north on South Queen Street, had his emergency lights on, according to police and witnesses.

When a police car approaches with emergency lights on, motorists must yield until the cruiser passes, McMillen said.

He said Pepple's actions were "consistent with our policy" on emergency responses.

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Police said Thursday that Neice was charged with failing to yield the right-of-way and failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle.

The police cruiser, its windshield smashed and front end crumpled, appeared to have hit a utility pole on the northeast corner of the intersection. It came to rest facing the pole in the northbound lane of South Queen Street, its bumper on the other side of the pole on the ground.

The dark red Plymouth Duster driven by Neice was smashed in on the passenger side. The car, in which two children were riding, came to rest facing northeast almost a block north of the police car on the lawn in front of 414 S. Queen St.

Pepple, Neice, Nakesha Sheppard, 9 months, and Carl Snuffer, 4, were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, McMillen said. All were treated and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The children were in restraining seats, which McMillen said protected them from more serious injuries.

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